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A CLOSER LOOK AT A STAMP-IMPRINT
by Lubomyr Prytulak
First posted on   www.xoxol.org/traw/closer.html   26-May-2010 07:40pm PST, last revised 28-May-2010 12:13pm PST


Terms Used Here

Stamp-tool   
     Stamp-pad Stamp-imprint     

Display 1.  For greater clarity, three terms used in the instant paper.



Beading and Non-Beading Inks

       
Drawn on a Vanity Fair low-gloss inside page.     Drawn on a Vanity Fair high-gloss cover.

Display 2.  Beading and non-beading ink on low-gloss and high-gloss papers.  Upper four lines in each box are drawm using Pelikan Fount India, Drawing Ink for Fountain Pens, Black, applied with a Mars-700 drawing pen, with a 1.0 / 3 1/2 nib.  Lower four lines in each box are drawn using a Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker, Art & Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) certified.

On low-gloss paper (left box, Display 2), the difference between beading ink (upper four lines) and non-beading ink (lower four lines) is not great, and what difference is apparent is more likely caused by different pens than by different inks.  However, on high-gloss paper (right box, Display 2), the same beading ink can be seen to begin beading and the same non-beading ink can be seen to continue not beading.

The conclusion relevant here is that the presence of both beaded and unbeaded lines on the same glossy surface can be taken to indicate that different inks were applied.  It follows that if both beaded and unbeaded lines were to be observed within a single stamp-imprint, this would indicate that that stamp imprint could not have been produced by the normal process of rubber-stamping in which the stamp-tool acquires its ink by being pressed into a stamp-pad which has been soaked with ink.  For purposes of verifying Trawniki Cards, a stamp-imprint containing both beaded and unbeaded lines must be regarded as a forgery.

Beaded and Unbeaded Lines Observed Within a Single Stamp-Imprint

Display 3 shows the upper-right corner of the Demjanjuk photograph that is presently glued to Trawniki Card 1393, and whose stamp-imprint evidences irregularities, some of which have already been noted in the article WHO GLUED.  It has not previously been noted, however, that among these stamp-imprint irregularities is the simultaneous presence of both beaded and unbeaded lines, which are discernible in Display 3, but only with difficulty because of small size and low contrast.  The simultaneous presence of both beaded and unbeaded lines does become readily apparent when Display 3 is enlarged and its contrast heightened, as in Display 4.

Display 3.  Upper-right 300x645 pixel corner of Demjanuk photograph glued to Trawniki Card Demjanjuk 1393.  Stamped lettering in the outer arc is a fragment from SS-Standortverwaltung Lublin, and in the inner arc is a fragment from Waffen-SS, and where each SS in the original is represented as a pair of thunderbolts, all of which details can be inspected in Display 9.

Display 4.  Same as Display 3, but with two modifications: (1) display size doubles width and height from 300x645 to 600x1290 pixels, and (2) heightened contrast produced by Photoshop Curves in which the lower-left anchor of the curve is at Input=210, Output=0, and the upper-right anchor of the curve is at Input=232, Output=255, which of course transforms the curve into a straight line.  Color changes from Display 3 to Display 4 are side effects of radical contrast enhancement.


Display 5 facilitates discussion by adding numbered reference arrows to Display 4.  Noteworthy unbeaded lines in Display 5, then, are indicated by arrows containing single-digit numbers, starting with [1] and [2] which point to the unbeaded outer edge of a perimeter arc, and [3] which points to that same arc's unbeaded inner edge.  This unbeaded arc begins considerably CCW (counterclockwise) of arrows [1]-[3] and extends CW (clockwise) as high as arrow [4], where it stops abruptly.  As for unbeaded text, at [5] the upper half of the letter "o" is unbeaded, and at [6] the bottom of the letter "e".  Although some beading is discernible within the lines at [1]-[6], they are nevertheless categorized as unbeaded because they are characterized by an edge that is sharp enough that none like it can be found in a less-tampered-with stamp-imprint, such as the one on the Wolembachow photograph shown in Display 6 where not a single instance can be found of lines having edges as smooth and sharp as those in Display 5 that are pointed to by arrows [1]-[6].

As for the many beaded lines in Display 5, a few particularly noteworthy ones are marked by double-digit arrows starting with [11] and [12] which point to two thin, parallel arcs that can be seen to begin as far CCW on the perimeter as arrow [1], and each lying on either side of the above-mentioned unbeaded arc, and which from [1] continue CW until they reach the upper-right corner of the photograph.  The entire outer perimeter of the stamp-imprint which in Display 3 (prior to enlargement and contrast-enhancement) appeared to be a single line inexplicably swollen in its middle, stands revealed in Displays 3 and 4 as three lines, a thick and relatively-unbeaded core starting near the bottom of the image and ending opposite arrow [4], and which unbeaded core is sandwiched between two thin and beaded lines which begin faintly around [1], gather ink as they proceed CW, and begin to converge as they approach the upper-right corner of the photograph.  And instances of beading within text characters are the "t" at [13], the bottom of the "n" at [14], and the entire capital "W" at [15].

The examples singled out for labelling in Display 5 are illustrative, not comprehensive, such that additional instances of both beaded and unbeaded lines can be easily discovered.

   

Display 5.  Arrows point to edges that are unbeaded (single-digit arrows 1-6) and beaded (double-digit arrows 11-15).

  

Display 6.  For comparison, the relatively-untampered-with stamp-imprint on the upper right of the Wolembachow photograph from Trawniki Card Diesntausweis 1211.  The 300x645-pixel upper-right corner of the Wolembachow photograph has been subjected to the same enlargement of size and heightening of contrast as in the Demjanjuk images in Displays 3 and 4.  Stamp-imprint lettering is a fragment from Der SS u. Polizeiführer.


The chief conclusion that the above evidence invites is that two varieties of ink contributed to producing the upper-right stamp-imprint on the Demjanjuk photograph which is currently glued to Trawniki Card 1393 — one variety of ink producing a relatively clean and sharp edge, and the other variety of ink beading, from which it follows that this particular stamp-imprint could not have been produced by the normal application of a stamp-tool which obtains its ink by being pressed into a stamp-pad.

How a Forger Might Place a Stamp-Imprint on an Old Photograph

Display 7.  Demonstration that a well-inked stamp-imprint over an irregularity, in this case a crease, leaves indications of which came first — in this case, indications that the crease was already in existence when the stamp-imprint was applied.

 

The photos on Trawniki ID Cards were presumably taken just before the Cards were completed and issued to the bearers, such that a photograph attached to a Card in 1942 would have had little opportunity to age and wear prior to being stamped.  In contrast, a forger creating a Trawniki ID Card in 1975 might find that the only available photograph was old and worn, and so might contain holes or scratches or cracks or creases.  If the forger proceeds to stamp overtop of such signs of aging, his product will broadcast that the defects antedated the stamp-imprint, or in other words that the card that was stamped was already old, as is illustrated in Display 7 which broadcasts that the crease in the paper antedates the stamp-imprint "3".

What are a forger's options, then, when in 1975 he finds himself with an aged but unstamped photograph which he needs to make look like it had been stamped in 1942 while still in mint condition?  The simplest thing he can do is what a Kremlin forger seems to have done in 1975 when he saw that the "SS-S" in "SS-Standortverwaltung" was going to end up on top of a staple-hole-and-crack in the Demjanjuk photograph (see the bottom of Display 9) — he can omit that "SS-S".  And to make it look as if the cause of the omission was the stamp-tool lacking ink in that region, he is obligated to make the perimeter circle vanish as well.

  Fading sevens

Display 8.  Repeated stamping without replenishing ink results in increasingly-lighter stamp-imprints from which a forger is able to select one to use as a template which he later fills in by hand in areas where he wants the stamp-imprint to be more legible.

Our KGB forger having successfully avoided the staple-hole-and-crack at the bottom of Display 9, still faces the difficulty of the large crack which lies in the path of the stamp-imprint higher up.  It won't do to repeat the same trick.  A second deficit of ink around a second irregularity might begin to arouse the suspicion of even inattentive observers.  What our forger can do is lay down an exceedingly light stamp-imprint, one that is barely visible and which lacks sufficient ink to wick into the underlying crack, and afterward use that faint stamp-imprint as a template to guide the darkening-in by hand of only select parts away from the crack.  A method of producing such an extremely-light stamp-imprint template is shown in Display 8, and with Display 11 showing what might be use of just such a faint template in the other stamp which overlaps the Demjanjuk photograph — the stamp on the photograph's lower-left.

Evidence that our hypothesized Kremlin forger may have relied on a faint stamp-imprinted template abounds in Display 9.

Display 9.  Evidence of KGB forger avoiding superimposing his stamp over a gaping staple-hole-and-crack, and also crudely hand-inscribing over a faint stamp-imprinted template.

Display 10.  Stamp Type C from the outside surface of Bondarenko 1926.  Useful for showing the text within the stamp-imprint, and more particularly the thickness and placement of the individual characters within the text.

verw:  Evidence that our KGB forger hand-inscribed overtop of a lightly-stamped template can be seen throughout Display 9.  Consider, for example, the "verw" within "Standortverwaltung".

v:  In Display 9, the lines of the "v" are too thick — compare them to the lines within "tand" at the beginning of the word.  And the "v" projects too high, approaching the preceding "t" in height and it towers above the following "e".  In the undoctored Display 10 that same "v" does not stand out from the other lower-case letters in the least, not in thickness and not in height.

e:  In Display 9, the very smooth-edged "e" signals non-beading ink, or perhaps template ink applied in a layer too thin to bead.  The large blobs of ink coarsely scattered overtop and to its left signal beading ink applied by a forger whose attention has wandered or whose eyesight is failing or whose hand has slipped.

r:  In Display 9, the "r" seems sunken below the level of its neighboring letters, perhaps because its beaded hand-inscription has been written below its faint template.  In Display 10, the corresponding "r" seems neither higher nor lower than its adjacent letters.

w:  Within Display 9, compare the thickness of the swollen "w" with the thinness of the "tand" at the beginning of the word.  And now compare this bloated "w" to the same "w" in Display 10 where it stands out not in the least for being swollen or bloated.  Again, notice how the beading in Display 9 does not correspond accurately to what might be a faint template underneath.

The reader will have no trouble discovering further instances of misshapen beaded letters accompanied by a faint unbeaded counterpart lingering nearby like a shadow, or one might venture to guess, peeking out from underneath like a template.

 

Display 11.  Indicated with arrows is a faint line which may be a template line used to guide the placement of the darker final line which in this case happened to end up to its right.  The darker final line may not overlap the template line perfectly for either or both of two reasons: (1) the forger tried to achieve perfect overlap, but missed through clumsiness or lack of skill; (2) the forger compromised between perfect overlap and continuity with line segments lying outside the photograph.  The fragment shown here is from the lower-left stamp overlapping the Demjanjuk photograph on Trawniki Card 1393, subjected to the same enlargement and contrast enhancement as were applied to Demjanjuk 1393 and Wolembachow 1211 images above.

And finally compare the perimeter arcs in Displays 9 and 11.  We expect them to be highly similar: they are imprinted on the same Demjanjuk photograph by the same stamp-tool, and presumably on the same occasion.  And yet their comparison reveals that they are radically different.  As both arcs show signs of tampering, the only explanation of this radical difference seems to be that both of the stamp-imprints of which they are a part were manufactured by unskilled KGB forgers around the year 1975 in a clumsy effort to bolster the case for prosecuting John Demjanjuk as a Nazi collaborator.

Conclusion

Closer examination of the stamp-imprint which overlaps the upper-right of the Demjanjuk photograph that is glued to Trawniki Card 1393 reveals irregularities that are compatible with the interpretation that when the photograph was glued to the card, it was already of an age to be blemished with holes and cracks which the KGB stamp-imprint avoided overlapping either by making the stamp-imprint vanish in the vicinity of a staple-hole-and-crack, or else by having the forger apply beading ink by hand to a template consisting of a faint stamp-imprint, which of course permitted him to avoid the large crack that otherwise might have wicked ink from a well-inked stamp-tool.


HOME  DEMJANJUK  BLURB  FORGED  GLUED  LETTER  PATTERNS  DECLARATION  CLOSER           SEE ALSO  Vladimir Putin: You must allow the BKA to examine the Trawniki ID card  Letter 16-Dec-2004